Not using two-factor authentication? Then you’re at risk

Think your company’s computer systems are protected with conventional passwords? Guess again. Too many of your staff count on simple passwords that can be simple for hackers to guess. Others use the same password for multiple Web sites, computers and mobile devices. Consequently once cyber criminals hack that password, they are able to easily gain access to an array of other sites and devices. That’s why a recent story by Biztech Magazine identifies two-factor authentication as a growing trend among businesses that take cyber security seriously.

Two steps are better than one

The most effective way to prevent cyber crimes is to make hacking more of a challenge. That’s the reason, according to Biztech Magazine, two-factor authentication works so well. First, an employee must enter a password. But to gain access to their machines or Web sites, staff members also have to follow up with a second action. They might need to use a biometric identifier to get into a particularly sensitive Web site. Or, they might have to swipe a smart code or insert a token to log onto a computer. By having a second step, your company will discourage the vast majority of hackers.

Rolling it out

Not all of your employees, though, are going to be happy with two-factor authentication. It takes more effort on their part, of course. But Biztech offers a few recommendations for smoothing this rollout. First, the magazine suggests you select a second factor that will cause the least amount of disruption among employees. As an example, Biztech uses the example of smart cards. Mobile devices such as smartphones are usually not compatible with these cards. That could be deal breaker for some businesses. Businesses that have personnel that work from a wide range of locations might not do well with physical tokens.

Don’t rush

Give your employees a chance to get used to the concept of two-factor authentication before you officially launch it. You need to give your workers the chance to ask questions about how the procedure works. This also gives you a chance to explain just why two-step authentication is needed and how it can provide better protection to the company.

Posted on: 04.23.13